April 03, 2008 // Franchising.com // DUBLIN, Ohio – Wendy's International, Inc. (NYSE: WEN) today announced preliminary average same-store sales for the first quarter of 2008, which ended on Sunday, March 30. Wendy's® first-quarter sales results were impacted by a calendar shift in 2008 with the Easter holiday.
Average same-store sales at U.S. franchise restaurants decreased 0.1% during the quarter, compared to an increase of 3.7% during the same quarter a year ago.
Average same-store sales at U.S. company restaurants decreased 1.6% during the quarter, compared to a 3.8% increase during the same quarter a year ago. Sales trends improved in February and March compared to January, as sales rolled over the strongest quarter of the previous year.
"We are focused on taking care of our customers and driving further improvements in all areas of our business," said Chief Executive Officer and President Kerrii Anderson. "We continue to concentrate resources to grow sales with innovative products, new customer service initiatives and advertising that more effectively drives purchase intent and highlights Wendy's superior quality."
Wendy's promoted its new Stack Attack™ double cheeseburger in January with a focus on offering value at 99 cents, which compares to the introduction of the $2.99 Deluxe Value Meals during the same period a year ago. During the Lenten season, the Company offered its new premium fish sandwich, featuring hand-cut and panko-breaded North Pacific cod, topped with tarter sauce and fresh lettuce. Wendy's recently introduced its Spicy Baconator™, a fiery extension of the popular Baconator sandwich, featuring six strips of bacon on top of two hot, juicy hamburgers with two slices of Pepper Jack cheese, chipotle ranch sauce and jalapenos.
The Company faced a calendar shift in 2008 with the Easter holiday falling in the first quarter (March 21-23), opposed to the second quarter a year ago. This negatively impacted same-store sales at company restaurants by an estimated 0.3% during the quarter. First-quarter sales also were impacted by the severe winter weather in March in the Midwest and North.
The extra day in February due to leap year had no impact on first-quarter sales, as the Company's fiscal calendar operates on a 5-4-4 basis resulting in an equal number of days in the quarter compared to a year ago.
The Company will introduce this week its high-quality Chicken Go Wraps, featuring center-cut, chicken breast fillets – available Grilled, Spicy or Homestyle – with cheddar cheese, fresh lettuce and Ranch or Honey Mustard sauce wrapped in a warm flour tortilla.
During April and May, Wendy's will offer for a limited-time its Southwest Chicken Caesar Salad, featuring seasoned, diced chicken, corn and black beans, and grape tomatoes on a bed of crisp Romaine lettuce – garnished with shredded natural Parmesan cheese and garlic croutons and served with a zesty Southwest Caesar dressing.
The Company recently introduced two quality breakfast products in about 1,000 restaurants that currently offer Wendy's new breakfast menu. The new Maple Baked Frescuit™ combines all the sweet & savory tastes of a homemade breakfast – like real Maple Syrup, fresh baked biscuits, eggs, cheese and either grilled sausage or hickory smoked bacon – all in a portable sandwich. Wendy's new Coffee Cake Muffin is served warm with a cinnamon crumble topping.
The Company launched in February its new advertising campaign – "Waaaay Better" – as an authentic voice for the Wendy's brand. The new creative ends with a tagline in the U.S. that reminds consumers "It's Waaaay Better Than Fast Food!™ It's Wendy's".
"The new advertising leverages our core strengths, reflects the honest quality that has defined our brand over the years and positions our quality food as the hero," said Anderson. "In addition, the advertising is intended to drive traffic and entice customers to visit Wendy's more often."
Preliminary First-Quarter Average Same-Store Sales Summary
1Q 2008 1Q 2007
U.S. Company -1.6% 3.8%
U.S. Franchise -0.1% 3.7%
Monthly Average Same-Store Sales Summary for January, February and March
Jan 2008 Jan 2007 Feb 2008 Feb 2007 Mar 2008 Mar 2007
U.S. Company -3.8% 4.8% 0.4% 3.3% -0.8% 3.6%
U.S. Franchise -2.1% 4.7% 2.3% 2.7% 0.1% 3.7%
The Company plans to release its 2008 first-quarter results at approximately 7:00 a.m. ET on Friday, April 25, 2008. A conference call and webcast to discuss the Company's results will follow at 9:00 a.m. ET.
The dial-in number is (877) 572-6014 (U.S. and Canada) or (706) 679-4852 (International). A simultaneous webcast will be available at www.wendys-invest.com. The call will be archived at that site.
Certain information in this news release, particularly information regarding future economic performance and finances, and plans, expectations and objectives of management, is forward looking. Factors set forth in our Safe Harbor under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, in addition to other possible factors not listed, could affect the Company's actual results and cause such results to differ materially from those expressed in forward-looking statements. Please review the Company's Safe Harbor statement at http://www.wendys-invest.com/safeharbor.
Wendy's International, Inc. is one of the world's largest and most successful restaurant operating and franchising companies.
During the past year, Wendy's received brand, food and operations accolades from:
1. Zagat Survey®, a leading global provider of consumer survey content, which named Wendy's as having the best hamburgers in the quick-service restaurant industry. In addition, Wendy's ranked first among quick-service "mega-chains" (i.e., those with at least 5,000 outlets) for food, facilities and popularity.
2. The 2007 American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) survey, produced by the University of Michigan's Stephen M. Ross Business School, ranked Wendy's in the top spot for customer satisfaction in the "limited service restaurants" category.
3. QSR® Magazine's 2007 Consumer Survey recently rated Wendy's as consumers' favorite quick-service restaurant (QSR) for the second-straight year.
4. Speedy service earned Wendy's the top spot for fastest drive-thru times once again, according to QSR Magazine's 2007 Drive-Thru Study.
More information about the Company is available at www.wendys-invest.com.